Rejection. Evokes romantic rejection with its singular and universal echoing pain. Also the felt but unknown rejections, you know, back when mother/father/brother/sister, the odd relative, the bully, poverty, sanctimonious wealth, middle-class boredom, warfare, an oppressive right-wing shouting lies had their way with you or some part of you. Their way is to leave tracks on tender parts.
To the chase, Sarah. Both my short story collections were rejected by the University of Georgia Press Flannery O'Connor competition.
The letters (two) arrived Thursday. Note: A typical rejection of one story or one group of poems can sting but I recognize the chump-ness of writing about that. Beginners complain and often stop submitting their work to avoid the ouch. That's being a chump. EVERYONE, except maybe Richard Price (The Wanderers) whose fiction was grabbed up when he was in college, gets rejected.
But man, this rejection is a comment on my writing career. I wondered if it was a message to quit. That competition has rejected my various short story collections more than once. I don't submit every year but I'd say seven or so times. The collection, now collections, varies each year as I add a new story or edit an extant.
This year I folded in each of my two novellas -- A Vote for Ross Perot and From the One End of Heaven, redivided the stories, came up with two books.
On Friday I received an e-mail from a novella competition stating I was almost a runner-up. The publisher had cut the list short because of finances but if someone dropped out (who drops out from getting published?) my novella would be published.
My inclination is to hide or certainly not make my failure public. I'm a writer and what I do is write. And tell the truth unless it's fiction and then an even greater truth (what does that mean?) (emotional?) is required.
It happened. No conclusion offered other than if I don't write what other excuse do I have to be in bed at 9:53 on a lovely Saturday morning. Writing.
[Pictured: The author with two short story collections awaiting life.]